Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Sunday afternoon I finally got in gear. I cleaned all the arachnid detritus out from between the windows, and I cleaned off my project table. Then, in order to be able to put away the textile paints, I had to paint the fabric. Because of the expanse of empty table available, this was possible (amazing). Back in July I had this idea that it would be fun to have a new embroidery to work on during my trip to Florida, something like, say, a mermaid. Reason stepped in heavily, and I concluded that I didn't have time to start something else, and I wasn't going to have much time on the trip anyway.

The paints and cloth have been waiting since then, and now here she is:

Then, since there was paint left over, I painted this. It is hideous, but I like it anyway. Then, since I still had paint left over, I painted this: And then there was STILL paint left over, and I painted these.

Then I was really hungry and pretty tired of painting, so I did not use up the remaining bits of paint.

Notes on painting on fabric:

1. painting on colored cloth: thumbs up
2. I was reminded why gesso was invented--fabric is bumpy
3. This time, I will remember to iron the things BEFORE I wash them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Success at the Front

Sunday I finally worked out on the balcony--I wanted to get it tidied up before it gets cold (cold for Oregon, that is). I venture to declare some actual success and definite signs of improvement--true reduction of entropy, and not mere reconfiguring of existing chaos. It is quite encouraging. Princess found the whole thing quite strenuous--she had to go out each time I did, then HEY! It's all different out here!! and she'd have to get back inside IMMEDIATELY. Eventually she overloaded and had to take herself off for a recuperative nap.

I shopped at Art Media over a week ago, and still haven't used the new paintbrush I got. :(

Picture of some sort soon, I promise. For now, a link to several more pictures from the Sculptural Vessel Class. I'm the one with my elbow in front of my face.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sculptural Vessel

I had a good time at the Sculptural Vessel class, using materials I don't have at home to end up with something I wouldn't have made in the usual course of events--good reasons to take a class. I still prefer string, of course (it doesn't bite), but metal screen does have characteristics which commend it for further consideration.

Susan Gallacher-Taylor posted a picture of us with our creations on her blog. I'm center front with my vegetable/fruit/bulb/plant thing (I was not in the mood for hemming and hawing about how to fit everyone in the picture, so I set the example of Volunteering To Be Short).

I would be one of the "mystified" students. Saturday evening I finally realized what bothered me about my object: I can see through it. (Duh, it's copper mesh.) I figured it out after I thought it would be improved by the addition of fabric and stitching. (No strings, Laura. It's metal, and you want to put a candle in it, remember.) I added a few more dangly bits, but it still needs beads, and probably more gold leaf. All in all, now that I've had a few days to get used to [seeing through] it, I quite like the overall shape. But if I do it again, it will involve string!

Friday, October 31, 2008


I am afraid my blog is boring. I know what to do about it, too: 1.) do stuff, so I have stuff to post about; 2.) buy a digital camera so I can have three-dimensional pictures; and 3.) get Web access from home.

I will start by making a detailed list--particularly for the camera and Internet service provider.

"Doing stuff" will start happening again very soon, as in tomorrow, when I will be taking a sculptural vessel class with Susan Gallacher-Turner. I got to see some of her pieces at an Open Studio a few weeks ago, and I really love her aesthetic--shrines and book forms and things that open and things that have every surface, front and back, painted, patinaed (sp?) and otherwise adorned. I just had trouble imagining fitting one in my tiny apartment, sigh.

In general life--I did not manage to avoid getting sick, but as of yesterday I may have begun to actually get healthy. I sincerely hope. My supervisor is back after a four-month stint abroad (yay for his return!) which makes a big difference in a department of two people, him and me.

I am finishing up a pumpkin spice latte at Ava Roasteria. It is probably not a good idea to have 16 oz. of caffeine at this time of day, but nyah nyah, I am doing it anyway. I will then do my grocery shopping in a fully-caffeinated state, which will hopefully last until after I get home and unpack my groceries, because tonight, really, I WILL clean off the accumulated detritus covering almost every square inch of my project table. Much as I love my hordes of Interesting Stuff, there is something even more inspiring about an expanse of Empty Table. It is my theory that the Art Part of the brain thinks, "Ooh, look at all that space! I could put all sorts of stuff there." That is much better than, "If I moved all the stuff, I'd have room to do something."

I know this, really. Why is it so hard to put it--and keep it--in practice?

My latte is about half done, and the caffeine is definitely in action; off I go to the grocery store...I even have a list.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Marvelous Meteorological Moment, and Other Random Bits

One of the days last week that I was home early from work (sick) there occurred the splendid situation of rain in front of my apartment, and sunshine behind. Delightful!

Last week was odd, some of it in a good way. I enjoyed two work-related training sessions given by Pete Mento (and I mean it; entertaining as well as informative--but I am going to send him an e-mail with incontrovertible proof that Europe did, indeed, have silk long before Marco Polo's famed voyage).

I may have avoided getting completely sick.

My car developed Serious Issues which led to procuring the services of a tow truck--preemptively. I have already been stranded alongside the road twice this year, and that is really quite enough. (Now my car has a new alternator, and is much happier.)

Saturday, after picking up my car, I had a fancy coffee and went to hear Widdershins play, which was a lot of fun.

Sunday I went out for cupcakes with friends, and was compelled to accompany them to Powell's.

There has been but little playing with string--just spinning the fabulous painted roving--and, spurred by envy of the friends taking a 4-day weekend, I have come to the conclusion that I won't make it to Thanksgiving without a break. At least if I don't want to spend this Thanksgiving sick.

Final bit of excitement: I managed to get the cell phone activated, a mere week after purchasing it. I promise not to talk and drive. It is a very cute little device, but I'm still fonder of my mp3 player.

Now, back to being overwhelmed at work.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fiber Lust.

No, not for shredded wheat. REAL fiber. Sunday I attended the Flock and Fiber Show, and I had a great time. I was not supposed to buy any fiber except for one particular project (hah) or any books (hah). I (it)did(/it) manage to avoid buying any raw fleece or any animals. I even avoided buying natural colored rovings (that's what forms the largest volume of my stash). I almost avoided buying books--but I saw a copy of The Handweaver's Pattern Book by Marguerite Davison for $10 and I took that as a sign that I ought to buy it. It is all 4-harness patterns. After the Complex Weavers Conference I felt sad at not having a complex loom; this book will help me learn how to get the most out of the one I have. (You can indeed do complex things with a 4-harness loom.)

Fiber-wise, I ended up with a little collection of this and that--largely related to the project I have in mind (and probably enough for about five!) and one bundle of painted roving that I just Had To Have. It's crazy, red and yellow and purple. More on that soon. That one is 50% alpaca, 30% merino, and 20% silk. The other fibers I got were Romney (cute and curley!), Merino, and mohair.

That evening I was tired & had a headache, but I spun up a couple of tidbits of fiber--one from a business card, the other from the outside of its bag of fiber. The main part of it was a blend with merino; the rest was mohair, which is diametrically different in the way it drafts & spins. Here is the result:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Weaving Success!

Last Friday I finally finished the silk warp I set up last year to weave the garters for this outfit. (The one on the left. The one on the right is me!) I wanted a twill pattern because twill has more of a give, so the garters would be more comfortable and work better. I had just decided to weave a plain twill when I came across this article by Carolyn Priest-Dorman. I had to adapt the draft to work on my loom, and it was a lengthy and often irritating process before the whole thing worked. I ran out of the original color, and completed the rest of the warp with a contrasting weft--the pattern shows even better! (And, er, so do the errors.) I definitely need to try out another version of this sometime--once I figure out what I did wrong--and after I try weaving the skinny, skinny linen I recently acquired.

Kitty Habits.

For several days in a row, Princess has roused herself from a comfortable spot to make an obligatory final final visit to the balcony before I leave for work. Not that she wants to go out, you understand. She MUST. Duty calls, and all that. She hurries out the glass door, pauses, and sits down, facing back into the living room. ("There's really nothing I particularly want to do out here at the moment, but I had to come out.") Thus she sits until I finish getting ready for work and let her in.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Today I have been knitting my brows at work (figuratively only, don't worry) but a few weeks ago I managed to finish a knitting project that has languished for (and this is literal) several years:
Part of the reason I stopped working on it was that I realized at some point I was really disappointed that it wasn't a sock. Additionally, I'd messed around with stripes too long at the top, so by the time I got to the little pattern I'd charted, the proportions were really odd. Parts of the final result are quite satisfactory, but overall--no.

I pondered several ways of addressing the issue, including felting the pouch, but I wasn't sure I'd like the results.

Then it occurred to me to just unravel it. Yes, the whole thing. That pleased me somehow--I'll unknit all of it, then start over, and do it "right." So by the time you see this, imagine numerous little balls of mismatched yarn!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


The hiatus was unintentional; I've been extra busy at work (well, it seems that way because my supervisor is still overseas) and although I've been working on stuff, I haven't had the extra energy to scan it for a post, because pictures are important.

By the end of the month (I have to get moving!) I want to have:
1) a digital camera
2) internet access at home

Last month the highlight was spending several days with Sarah at the Complex Weavers Conference. I had a few additional days off when I got back, and did the last few missing stitches to complete the interminable White Embroidery, huzzah!

As well as working on embroidery bits--at some point I was seized by the urge to finish projects that have been languishing in limbo--I've also woven a bunch on my loom, even though it interferes with my cat's preferred sleep patterns, as Under The Loom is one of the Good Spots--all kinds of chin props and sprawl supports. I've also acquired some delightful new books, thanks to Powell's and Interweave Press (thanks to Sarah!) and, of course, Amazon.

Additionally, I have an order of linen weaving string wending its way, courtesy of Webs. That is because of a Turkish embroidery I want to do--I've tried a whole bunch of different fabrics, and none of them work--so I have to weave my own, right? That way I can get the high threadcount/loose weave combination I need. Several things first, though--I need a bit more silk (from Halcyon Yarn) to finish up the last bit of the silk warp on my loom. And I need a warping board and a swift in order to set up the linen warp--the linen will not be even remotely as forgiving as the silk was.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Almost Done!

Almost done!!! I am going to add a few more leaves and also puff up one of the seed pods, which is nearly invisible since the background around it got finished. The only other embroidery I did was approximately one linear inch on another piece.

It has been rather an odd weekend. June finally seems to be here—Friday and Saturday were even warm enough for shorts and a sleeveless shirt.

Saturday began early; my don picked me up, we loaded my gear into the back of the truck with his, and headed off for a rapier tournament we never made it to, due to the unspectacular but effective failure of the clutch. All things considered, it was about as opportune a time to happen as there could be—we were scarcely out of town, not on the way to work, etc.

After the resolution of the transportation issue, I reconfigured the chaos, and was reminded that my elbow is not healed. I failed to parry something I should have in longsword class Thursday night. Ouch. Ouch. I was tired, etc., and it was a hard drill to start with after three weeks since the last class I made it to. :( I will be paying for it for some time to come. I moved more boxes than I should have on Saturday, and then sat & read a novel & drank iced tea & ate an apricot scone, while I iced the elbow. Then I went to Diana's, and she fed me tasty food.

Today, Sunday, I eventually got in gear and got a whole lot done. By 4 o'clock or so I had taken a nap, done a load of laundry, and taken out the garbage. A few hours after that I really got going.

The “new” dresser has been wiped down with water + Clorox (twice for the drawers, which have been airing out on the balcony for a week or so). I even remembered to wear gloves. (By the time I finished, the Clorox had taken a bunch of the indigo off them.) Between that and fumigating the frame by burning a stick of incense inside it, I hope to have taken care of the weird, unpleasant smell.

I repaired the most egregious problems—screwed down the runners to the backs of the drawers. I also glued down the piece of the broken runner that I found inside the dresser, and even clamped it properly. At some point, perhaps when I am painting it, I have to build a couple of new runners—the only intact ones are on the smallest size drawers.

I reconfigured the balcony storage closet (that's what a bunch of Saturday's box-moving was about) and today I was able to move the drill press out of my living room for the first time since, oh, October or so.

I reconfigured the chaos again, and ***now there are NO BOXES in the straightaway between the entry door and the balcony door. I can also access the living room without too much difficulty. The liberated expanse of carpet inspired me to vacuum. As it was completely dark, I enjoyed to the fullest extent the fact that my vacuum cleaner has a headlight. Princess retreated to the balcony, where she inserted herself in nearly-inacessible corner; I found her there, silent & upright, when I went to give her the post-Vacuum Monster kitty treat.

I've washed a bunch of dishes, and ***everything is ready for tomorrow. (Monday.) I therefore get a shiny insect sticker in my calendar for Monday. (I picked a bee-like moth.) I also get a shiny star for today, even though it is horrifically late, because I got more done this afternoon than over the entire 4-day Memorial Day weekend.

P.S. Saturday I found my very first oak gall! I now understand why they are also called oak apples. It's sort of the color of a golden delicious apple, but shaped like a bloated lima bean the size of a small mango. It is cracked from its plummet to terra firma, and I put it in a container since it is exuding dark liquid. It is very exciting. I have to look up the directions for making ink. In all my free time.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Swords and Sewing.

Sunday I was very tired, and even needed to have a nap. (Princess helped with that.) I did dishes & dealt with a few small piles, moved the drawers from the dresser out onto the balcony (they smell weird), and that was about it. The only project thing was this, finishing the neckline of my gömlek (basically, a Turkish chemise). The garment has been finished, except for the neckline, for roughly a year and a half. It has been three years since HL Giana & I started "shopping" for the ideal Near Eastern outfit; hers is done. (It really helps to have a live-in tailor.) I have had the salwar (pants) mostly done, too, for as long as the gömlek. Also the uçkur, the drawstring/sash to hold the pants up. (It involved yards of hemming. But no hawing.) And also the çevre, or headscarf. Bits and pieces, but no outfit. I have a low threshold of tolerance for repeated sewing mishaps, and this has so far deterred me from tackling the outer garments, which are not strictly rectangular construction. Anyway, I brought this along Saturday, and finished up the last bit on Sunday, including a genuine monkey fist button (triple-plied crochet cotton) and a buttonholed loop. I got the button to work after a number of tries, and after deducing what helpful hints my directions had omitted.

Saturday Swordfighting

Saturday was the Baronial Rapier Championship. There were four of us; two vying for the title, and two who were there to "test our mettle/metal." In other words, they were there for exercise. Each of us held the field for five bouts against the other three (holder of field with one weapon style, challenger with a different combination each time). That adds up to, yes, thirty fights each. Then the top two who were going for the championship had a best two out of three. Yes; we did all that even though we already knew there were only two contenders. :) Naturally, Maestro Gregorio creamed me. *However,* a personal first: I won a bout with him in an official tournament. Also, I beat Msgr Chrestien once. Each of those out of a total of 10 chances. 2 wins and 18 times falling on the ground. Oh well...neither of them plays with their food! I am still somewhat sore, from the falling part I suspect. I also have a couple of bruised fingers, which, irritatingly, I inflicted on myself. I think longsword hand motions are contaminating my attempts at rapier/dagger coordination.

A final note: today is really, truly June weather!!! Sunshine and warm.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dresser Update.

(As per special request. We always strive to fulfill our readers' wishes.)

I do indeed have a dresser. It is not quite the quality I was expecting, so the $80 I paid seems kind of high--esp. because of several structural issues that need to be addressed. But it is a dresser, it fits into the space, and it is lower than the window, which is important in the effort to sustain the delusion that I actually have space, and also for the pleasure of Princess (it is the Kitty Television Window).

The dresser is very...oakish. I think I will be compelled to paint it. Once I've moved enough boxes that it could pass through the living room onto the balcony. Also I find the drawer pulls unsatisfactory. The best feature--drawers, of course. There are 9 of various sizes. Eventually--once it is cleaned and rendered sound and, even more eventually, painted--it will be quite satisfactory. And boy, even in its present state, it is still an incredibly vast improvement over a bulwark of boxes. I have just about had my fill of boxes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tagged by Sarah

Sarah tagged me last week.

“The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.”

I don't know anyone to tag in turn, but if I think of someone (Kim, wanna volunteer?) I'll let you know.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

Living in the far north of New York State, working at my second temporary academic librarian position, filling out job applications.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?

1. get up
2. dress
3. eat breakfast
4. let cat out and in several times, with hugs

(1-4 happen interspersed with one another)

5. go to work

6. today’s bonus: I am actually going to acquire a dresser to store fabric. I have tried a bunch of times over the past year; this time it will really transpire, which is good, because I spent hours last night moving boxes around, and I'm really intensely utterly sick of boxes.

3. Snacks I enjoy?

I don’t tend to snack much. Tea, though, is a constant.

One of my more regular favorite snacks is yogurt with a banana, so I was highly distressed last year to have to concede that my lactose intolerance includes yogurt and cheese. Fortunately, my favorite grocery store (New Seasons) carries one brand of goat yogurt. It costs almost twice what the “natural” yogurt costs, which is itself more than “normal” yogurt. And one pound of goat cheddar costs twice what 5 lbs. of regular cheddar does. But I don’t get stomachaches, and I LIKE CHEESE.

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire?

* pay off my latest batch of student loans
*buy a house
*buy a car made during this century
*fund Sarah’s research foundation (if she wasn’t a billionaire yet).

5. Places I have lived?

Schenectady, New York
Hamilton, New York (college)
one semester in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Albany, New York (grad school)
Mount Vision, New York
Canton, New York
Las Cruces, New Mexico (in the United States, in case you were wondering)
Portland, Oregon (college prompted this move; I ended up liking it here a lot, and I am strongly disinclined to move cross country again without an exceptionally good reason)

And that's it!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday has been attained.

Is it really June?

The weather leaves that open to question. Calendrically, of course, June it is. But if it stays in the low to mid 60s here in Portland, I'm going to find Florida pretty heavy going (Complex Weavers conference).

I have been working on stuff, but not having the extra energy required to turn around and turn on the scanner. Any potentially-extra energy has been expended on preemptive stress and anxiety—in a few weeks, my supervisor will be heading off to spend four months at our subsidiary in the Netherlands, and apparently at some level I feel the unfortunate need to worry now, even though I know it will go fine. (Oh, he and I are the entire department, in case you wondered, and the end of June is the end of the quarter, that surprise of the business world that happens every three months, and our jobs are involved with all the last-minute moving of boxes every which way around the world.) This week I have been feeling like a Hapsburg, being unable at times to close my mouth. I finally deduced that the pain in my jaw resulted from tension elsewhere...and additionally of course my sinuses are continually stimulated by the weather.

At any rate, here is some proof of action.

To begin with—something Completely New *AND* Completely Finished!!! One type of thread (Caron watercolour, 3-ply Pima cotton used in single strands), one type of cloth (cotton Osnaburg), and one stitch (eyelet, I guess you'd call it). Kind of minimalist in its own way.

[As I write this, Thursday evening, Princess the cat is playing purposefully with the container of Holistic Natural Feline Treats on the floor. She knows goodies ought to come out, but they just won't.]

The white embroidery as of Wednesday, June 4:

In conclusion, as part of the ongoing struggle to achieve some sense of actual order, I had to empty the bedroom closet so I could fit in the new shelves I got. Naturally, an inordinately large percentage of the things that came out of the closet will not go back in, leaving yet more things to add to the chaos in the living room. (I eventually reconfigured that enough, once again, that I can get through without too much trouble. And as always, there are numerous cat routes. I'm a good cat mommy, even though she doesn't like me to work on the mat that appeared in her fur. It's spring, technically, and I have been harvesting prodigious amounts of feline fluff. I have a project in mind for it, too. Naturally.)

At the bottom of one stack of four boxes in the closet was the box with my photo albums. I've been wanting to get this picture out for AGES. It's a carved cedar relief of Hathor, and it's my favorite thing from the strenuous visit to the Met in 1997 (!!!) with Marla. We mainly did the Egyptian collection—also Cycladic art, which I adore, and musical instruments, which I covet, and briefly peered down into the armour gallery. But mainly we saw the Egyptian galleries. They are endless. Every room has rooms off it, and littler rooms off them, until you get down to a few closet-sized rooms. I particularly remember one that was floor-to-ceiling full of tiny faience objects. You begin to wonder how there could be anything left in Egypt. It would be good to have some Egyptian version of Ariadne's ball of thread, too, to find your way around.

So after all that, here is Hathor. The picture is rather dark since I was good and did not use my flash.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A bit of drawing, and more embroidery.

Last Friday was hectic, and I never managed to post this picture I scanned to prove that I *did* work on some drawing Thursday night:

Nothing too memorable about the weekend aside from attending a very sociable drum circle. I did a bunch of resting, let Princess in and out from numerous balcony patrols, and on Sunday worked on this embroidery, which I started a month or more ago. It is to provide me with a visual reminder of positive female energy. The colors didn't scan very well; they are not even remotely murky! I really need to get a digital camera...

Friday, May 2, 2008

More Tidbits.

Last weekend I also worked on this, an embroidery I charted a few years ago from a picture in Embroidered Textiles by Sheila Paine. It was so long ago I don't know what I was trying to do (I have a suspicion it involved an attempt at ludicrously small cross stitch with a sharp needle).
And this is the current state of the partridge & the pomegranate tree (hee hee!) I liked the tiny pomegranates so much that I made another, bigger one. That fabric is a random home decor fabric I picked up a few weeks ago, with the idea of embroidering a wall hanging.

A couple of days ago, when my laptop arrived, my latest book order did, too. I opened everything, then sat next to the laptop and perused the books, two books about the artist Remedios Varo: Unexpected Journey and The Magic of Remedios Varo, a book that I hadn't actually seen before--it is the first time I succumbed to the Amazon "look what other people bought!" link...Ooh, the pictures! "Okay," I thought, "I need to get over this not painting/drawing thing." Inspired, before long I had cleared most of the string stuff off my working table. I sat down and...embroidered. Moral: Get pieces of nice paper ready. (I didn't have to hunt for the embroidery, it was right there...)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Why I Will Never Be Completely Organized, and Sundry Other Random Tidbits

(We'll give this another try. My computer had issues on Wednesday, and I gave up; yesterday, I had allergy issues & stayed home--no internet, but *I now have a laptop!*)

A week or so ago I was the first one at practice, and waited in my car, sipping my tea with the hopes of inducing some caffeinated semblance of energy. I spotted the curbside remains of someone's gardening efforts: the extraction of a venerable lavender bush. I resisted. After practice and final visiting by the car, I succumbed, and rescued the gnarled stump. It stayed in my trunk for a week or so, and now it's on my balcony. But I have to see what I can make out of lavender wood, don't I?

Last weekend was a demo for a Medieval Faire; we had lovely weather, and I got a fair amount of exercise (hee hee), but it is a sad commentary on the level of allergens in the air that I barely felt really awake even for a bunch of full-speed longsword. I fit in some shopping, and landed this fantastic outfit from India--stitch resist-dyed (like shibori), beaded, embroidered, you name it:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Midday, Midweek.

I haven't scanned what I worked on over the weekend, but I will before long.

As part of the ongoing general redesign of my life, I've been thinking more about how to get myself producing Art, rather than randomly messing about (even though that, too, is a valid thing). Kim has been writing about this in some of her recent posts--do all creative people have these same issues? Even though I have no family of my own, I *still* find it difficult to achieve balance, though sometimes I manage for whole minutes at a time.

Pick something to do, and DO IT. Write a list. Make a plan. The thing I have been avoiding most: drawing and/or painting--why, I don't know, but for drawing one factor is that I've been wanting to do big charcoal drawings, and there is no place in my apartment that is convenient. Like all similar hurdles, I need to break it down into steps (paper ready, drawing board heaved into position, charcoal extracted from box) so that when I have time to get into it, it is ready to go. And I have to decide to do it, and then DO it.

Visual artist version of Kim's writing prompts: draw/paint/collage something--anything. I made it through a whole year of Daily Devotions (Kim told me about this--she's a great resource!), and it was really good: produce one complete thing of some sort every single day (catch ups allowed). It would be really good if I would get a whole stack of paper ready, and do this again.

Tonight, I will pick something, and do it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Maunderings.

I am not ready for Monday, but here it is anyway--close to finished, too, which is a relief.

I worked on random things this weekend, mostly non-scannable, like fixing the drape on my fencing mask prior to a demo on Saturday and taking undoing the bit of weaving I'd started a week or so ago. (I'd been a bit impatient & the warp wasn't evenly tensioned.)

The demo (for the Salem, OR branch of the SCA) was fun--even though it was 20 degrees hotter than usual; rather hot to be active dressed like this, but we survived. (Picture by Kim; taken last year at May Crown.) My doublet is getting too small across the shoulders, which I greatly lament. :( I love wearing it, but I did NOT love making it.

After I finally got home on Saturday, and ran errands, and took allergy medication, I sat and read with my cat. Sunday I did work on something scannable:

Well, I've actually avoided maundering, which is something of a feat. Is it Friday yet?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Serial Update, Part the Third: Bookcase, and Evolving Chaos

My bookcase, which I ordered January 31, FINALLY arrived. Due to extenuating circumstances (namely shopping) I didn't manage to pick it up until Sunday afternoon. It is now installed, and full. And I still don't have enough shelf space--it is a small bookcase and I knew it wouldn't solve the problem, just help. I have plans (literally) for building another shelf to fit another space, and realized I still have one more space for shelves, if I build those, too. These last two will hold Stuff as well as books--jars of seedpods, seashells, pinecones, and the like. Visibility for ease of use and incitement to use up.

Inspired by the potential of having another human being in my apartment, and thoroughly sick of the congestion, I reconfigured the chaos once more. As usually happens, this process did minimally reduce the amount of entropy, which is a relief. Though the visit didn't happen (we had more shopping stamina than I'd anticipated, so there wasn't post-shopping hanging out) I am still appreciating the improved situation.

I haven't done much scannable stuff; a bit more work on the white embroidery, getting materials assembled for some other random project (a large scale embroidery with colors, and another one with exciting colors). I also successfully made a Turk's head knot. I'll need to make a bunch of them for my Purse Project.

Serial Update, Part the Second: Books!

My delightful books from David Brown Book Company arrived. David Brown had sent me an alluring sale catalog which coincided nicely with my annual bonus at work. (Note: I actually spent more on clothes. Whoah.) The Spanish Apocalypse is fantastic! It is a huge book, so the manuscript (reproduced in full) is life-sized. Happy me!

Among the assorted other topics was one that I incorrectly guessed—I was under the impression that it was a catalogue of short excavation reports or something. However, it is actually about filters to filter liquids. It looks to be rather interesting in its own way, and is an abundant source of geometric patterns, which is always a good thing, and I have a general weakness for ancient objects. But it would have been worth the whole $7.98 for this sentence from the introduction: “Hence the containers must be cheap, rather light-weight insofar as the liquid itself supplies the balancing weight, generally porous if coolth is desired, and of an easily stored and replicable shape.”

Coolth!!! I have wanted that to be an official word for years, and am exuberantly pleased that some courageous scholarly soul has seen fit to commit it to print in an official publication. The above citation is from Fustat Expedition Final Report Vol.1: Catalogue of Filters, by George T. Scanlon. The filters are ceramic, and the perforated bases were made in many lovely patterns. They date from about 700 to about 1500.

Update: I was inspired to look in my dictionary this morning. Would you believe it, coolth is in my dictionary? I have had the word in my possession, in print, since I was 12. I can't believe I never looked it up before. I've wanted it to be an official word for years. In any case, there it is. I am still immensely pleased to have spotted it in use.

Serial Update, Part the First: Shopping! (and Food)

I have a good job that pays well, finally. It has come to pass that limited financial resources coupled with a limited urge to shop for clothing have made it Absolutely Necessary to acquire new clothes. (Note: I never stopped buying books. I figured out my priorities years back!)

I also have become aware that I tend to buy things that—well, that aren't necessarily flattering, even if they happen to be comfortable, and it is more than time to remedy that. Fortunately for me, I have my friend Kim. Among her many talents [note: three different links] is a carefully-honed expertise in shopping, and a contagious enthusiasm. We had a shopping spree on Saturday, and as well as assorted shirts I emerged with not one, not two, but THREE pairs of jeans, which actually fit!!! Kim made me try on successively smaller sizes until I reached one that made me say, “No, these are too small, I could barely get them closed.” She gave me a LOOK (inner basilisk?) and said very firmly, “THOSE FIT.”

Those are the ones I bought, even though I was apparently still skeptical, since I was not entirely convinced until I succeeded in eating too much at supper—another friend's belated birthday get-together at Ya Hala in SE Portland. I ate too much and I could still get the pants closed. (Supper was absolutely delicious.)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Random Tidbits

Here is the white embroidery as of yesterday:

This is an enlargement I made from the picture of the reliquary pouch discussed a few posts ago. (Sarah, on this one is actually sort of possible to see the stitches.)

Doesn't this sample look a bit more like the picture than the tiny embroidery did?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Happy Anniversary

--to Princess & me. March 30 is two years since she came to live with me. :) She spent the first day and a half hiding under the futon. She has relaxed a lot, though she still can be hyper-alert kitty when the need arises. We are very cozy together even though I haven't conformed to her desire for a predictable schedule, and I keep her busy (she has an extra amount of work every time I reconfigure the chaos, because she has to check everything). I always make sure to leave cat routes between & behind boxes, and to make a lap nest with her favorite blanket so she'll sit with me. Sometimes her naps are contagious. Other times she runs around like crazy for as much as a minute, careful not to "hide" where I can't reach her. All in all, life is good.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Random Progress

The chaos reigning in my apartment has been reconfigured once again, with moderate improvements. I'm still waiting for the bookcase I ordered at the end of January.

Progress on the white embroidery sampler--it is getting very crazy; what works and what doesn't are very apparent. Aside from issues resulting from not using an embroidery frame (which would be a good thing when using such a variety of stitches/stitch tensions), having the central pod "shaded" and the rest monochromatic isn't working; too much business.

Over the weekend I finished this little embroidery sample I charted from a reliquary purse: The purse itself is in the fantastic database of the Royal Institute for the Study and Conservation of Belgium's Artistic Heritage--note that although the search form is in English, you have to search in Dutch or French. "Beurs" is pouch.

Sarah, what technique do you think was used to make this delightful item?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Temperate Kitty, Random Projects, & Seattle

Temperate Kitty is pleased with the current state of the climate. She doesn't always stay outside as long, but requests Balcony Patrol on a more frequent basis, thus giving her human more butler practice. She deigns to signal vocally for re-entry on a more frequent basis, judging that the speedier response is worth the extra effort, since her human's telepathy operates in an irregular manner (precognition is somewhat better, but still not entirely reliable).

Two Projects from about two years ago. I made them late 2005, and they were in a show at Sixth Street Gallery the next summer.

This was going to be a book, but it turned into a satisfyingly dysfunctional labyrinth. It is handmade abaca paper, formed to create irregular edges and interior holes--each "sheet" was thus made in one step, not altered afterwards. I "bound" it and applied various stitchery, including needle lace. The sheets are about 3.5"/45mm tall. It was creepily like sewing dried skin.

These are plant-like to me; maybe the kind of plant that could eventually walk around. Abaca paper over birch twigs--wonderfully flexible, shed naturally by the tree during winter storms--with needle lace. There are three more related pieces I finished early last year, but don't have pictures of yet. (tsk tsk) They were in an alumni show at Oregon College of Art & Craft, and are the same materials, but each constructed with a "skeleton" of three twigs, so it looks like they are ambling about. I finally found a place to put them where I didn't knock them over--they are very lightweight.

A day or so ago I did the last bit of the languishing binding for Natura Exenterata. It's done with tackets (those twisted bits of hemp string) which tie the signatures to the cover.

Status of the white embroidery as of midday Sunday:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Where did the weekend go?

...I did stuff, but I also took a nap each day. I guess that since the stuff that was done wasn't particularly active/large scale, that's why it seems insignificant.

I did work on a few things--I made a few more fingerloop braids, and progressed on the white embroidery:

There are definitely things I like about it, but I would do almost everything differently the next time.

I was also pleased to spontaneously locate my photocopy of the fingerloop braid paper from "Middle English Studies." I laid it next to me and put the rest of the papers back into the folder--and that quickly, Princess was reclined on it, so I didn't get to look at it right away!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Funny Feline, & a Few Frustrations


Arctic Kitty had her first short Balcony Patrol when I got home from work yesterday. After I disbursed my load of stuff and she had come back in and gone off to check out the apartment again, I went out to observe the progress of the lunar eclipse. Arctic Kitty heard the door and came trotting...and was so shocked she had to run away: she had forgotten that her human could go out on the balcony. On a few later attempts she was able to muster up the courage to join me, a bit nervous having me on the *outside* of the door when I opened it for her.

The eclipse was really neat. I saw the preliminary part of it on my drive home, and by the time of totality it was visible from my balcony, through the branches of a tree.


Entropy is getting to me. I have been wanting to weave on my loom, though I suspect that is partly because I know it is basically inaccessible. Not technically, but I would be *extremely* aware of the boxes I was leaning against. I really really need to make more progress in the sorting thing. The next stage is probably to box up the current spread-out stuff and spread out a different assortment.


At least my work area is pretty much functional, and last night I made some fingerloop braids. I made another one this morning--the tempting loops were already set up. It is not possible to eat breakfast while making a fingerloop braid, in case you were wondering.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bits & Pieces

Visible progress on a couple of small things. First, the white embroidery, as of Sunday evening: At lunch today (Monday) I did the final padding stitches for the bottom half, and I will try a variation of the detached buttonhole stitching, because there were irregularities in the white part. Still fun, though, and very puffy.

Also, I finally did a bunch on this embroidery, which was inspired technically by some pieces in Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt by Marianne Ellis. The image is (very!) loosely based on a 12th c. tapestry fragment used as a relic wrapping. It can be found in Textiel van de vroege middeleeewen tot het Concilie van Trente, which details numerous textile delights from the collection at the Tongeren Basilica.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Winding Down

The work week is nearly over; I'm about ready to go home.

I've made a bunch of progress on the white embroidery (I just love detached buttonhole stitch!) and will attempt to scan it this weekend. I really need to start seriously shopping for a digital camera.

I made this the other day for a greeting card (actually a farewell card):

I haven't used ribbon before, and I really like how it came out. The scanned colors are not true-to-life!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tiamat Grows Restive; Marduk Focuses Mainly on Other Things

Life Stuff.

Over the weekend I spread out some of the boxes from the Awful Pile. I'm afraid of it becoming something that has been there so long I don't see it. Now it's distributed over most of the floor of the living room half of the living room (as opposed to the half of the room full of boxes and a floor loom), ready for Initial Sorting & Redistribution. My cat approves of the alteration of the pile--it's now about level with the back of the futon--I found her reclining on it last night.

I made this sketch of Princess last fall. She is sitting in the Bed Time Now pose, which follows a bout of serious careening into my lower legs interspersed with Forceful Head Butts. If I don't go to bed soon enough, she collapses into a nap or just goes to bed without me.

Art-ish Stuff.

Monday I started the padding stitches for the seed pod on the white embroidery, after completing one more circuit of the background. Before I do more background, I realized, it would be a good idea to add the other Elements to my composition. Perhaps I'll do that tomorrow morning while I wait for my car to be repaired. It's has gotten to the point that there is not enough progress if I just work during my lunch break--ready to be DONE!

While I was doing it, one of the two people who has asked me about it (it's sort of a sociological experiment to see if anyone will notice; embroidery in the lunchroom of a high-tech company does not seem to attract notice like, say, naalbinding on the train)--anyway, she asked me what it was for. I had to tell her several times, with verbal capitalization, that it is a Sample!

Speaking of lunch, I believe I ought to go embroider now. I mean eat.

P.S for the last post: Armenian Embroidery (in Armenian with English summary)--it's in two parts; get both here
Armenian Lace (one page article by Nouvart Tashjian--citation information is on this page; you'll have to do a "find")

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Assorted Projectification, Illustrated.

6. February 2008, Wednesday.

I meant to include a link or two in the last post—here they are now:
*Armenian Lace
*Turkish Lace
*Italian Drawn Work and Antique Filet Lace (1922) This booklet has instructions for knotted lace--Italian, in this case. (I increasingly understand why Dickson [see below] uses "knotted lace" as her preferred term!) I liked the Turkish term "oyah" until I discovered that oyah meant the resulting specimen, not the means used to make it (i.e. a lot of newer oyah is crocheted).
Many other assorted goodies can be found at the On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics.

I've finished Alice Odian Kasparian's book. There are some really beautiful patterns for knotted lace, and I love the interlaced embroidery. Her diagrams are excellent; I must try it soon! (Project.) I don't know if I will ever find another embroidery book so—how to phrase it—fraught with emotion, or such a sense of Mission. The last chapter was her family's story—they were very, very lucky, for her entire nuclear family survived to emigrate to the United States. I couldn't figure out Kasparian's age, but she was certainly less than 10 years old at the time; it is not surprising that more than 60 years later, as she finished her book, she still wrote with such immediacy and a sense of loss.

As far as Art goes, I've done a minute bit of preliminary web-only research, and decided that though I want to stick with the basic premise of the series I mentioned the other day, I think my references will be more oblique, and the series shorter, because frankly it is a very depressing topic to keep thinking about. I didn't even make it through the whole Wikipedia article on genocide—partly because of time (I was at work, after all) and partly because it was distressing to think of committees sitting around deciding how to appropriately define genocide while elsewhere people were being slaughtered. End of mini-diatribe.

If you are interested in learning to make knotted lace, I'd recommend “Mediterranean Knotted Lace” by Elena Dickson (2005). Her instructions are wonderfully clear, and with what you learn there you will be well-equipped to try out Kasparian's designs, or perhaps Tashjian's “doily of marked distinction.” After I read Dickson's book last year, I made a couple of samples—they're in two different sizes of crochet cotton. The large size was easiest at first, but before I finished the sample it was obvious that something finer & smoother/more tightly twisted would work better. The next time I will also shrink the scale I'm working at. But I think I'll wait a bit before I try sewing silk!

Sunday I was compelled to make a fancy braid. I used 8 lace bobbins and assorted embroidery strings. It came out very twisty, which I wasn’t expecting, and I’m still trying to decide if I like it:

I just finished my first beaded crochet sample. I lost a few stitches along the way (probably turning rows), and it took me a bit to realize at least one of the problems I was having was not me but that the crochet hook was too small (?!?). The last few rows (at the top of the picture) came out properly—I switched to using double crochet (the half double of the first 3 rows at the bottom didn't work satisfactorily, & I don't think it was all me). The top 4 rows are double crochet, with each row of double crochet followed by either slip stitch or single crochet—the beads only appear on one side. (If you strung twice as many, you could naturally do front & back both.) I'm not sure why I ended up compelled to try this now.

Next is trying a crocheted beaded “rope”—I started stringing the beads tonight, using the needle-with-a-loop-of-thread method to get the beads onto the crochet cotton. Size of this sample will depend on how many beads I am motivated to thread.

(Good grief, the cat hairs show...)

In conclusion, two in-process embroideries started late last summer. I've mainly worked on them during lunch at work, so they haven't progressed too rapidly. The purple one is nearly done (and I'm about ready to work on it again) but the white one still has quite a bit to go—stems, another seed pod, and some leafy bits. Plus filling in the background.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Decent Weekend.

Not bad, as far as weekends go. No pictures, because 1) I didn't do anything particularly scannable, and 2) I forgot my flash drive at work anyway. Saturday I spent hours and hours waiting at the garage for my car to be examined--large mushy snow was falling, which made me strongly disinclined to wander about the streets of Beaverton. It actually was fairly restful to be trapped in one spot, though, so in a way it wasn't too bad. Then I went shopping--a bamboo slat "rug" for on my balcony (once it warms up) and one of those wooden croaking frogs that I've wanted for years. It's a really huge one, too. :) W-a-y on sale. Princess doesn't quite know what to make of it, in a disinterested sort of way. I also perused the Mill End fabric store quite thoroughly, and bought a couple tiny bits of velvet for Projects.

Then when I got home my books from Lacis had arrived! I got them out of the box, took a *really* brief glance through, washed a bunch of dishes at what even a normal person would consider a good rate of speed, and headed to North Portland, where Kim fed me supper & then we all hung out and visited. (Thanks again!) Very nice evening.

Sunday I spent entirely at home. I was not particularly interested in moving stuff around (having practice sitting on Saturday probably helped me sit on Sunday) and I ended up working on stuff. I even had a phone call, and washed dishes & got my new toaster oven up & running. (I used it twice already!) There was a lot of Lap Kitty time, as Kitty apparently felt very needy, and let me know with serious head butts.

It is a kind of peculiar disjunction, therefore, to relate that I ended up thinking about genocide quite a bit. No, really, it is connected--the books I got myself are "Armenian Needlelace and Embroidery" by Alice Odian Kasparian, and "Armenian Lace" by Nouvart Tashjian. The latter is definitely of its time (early 1920s)--my favorite pattern is the one for "a doily of distinction." It was written to disseminate information about Armenian knotted lace, with ways to use it on "the new table linens"--both for Americans, and for Armenian survivors of the Turkish massacres, who were making piecework to sell as a way to survive. Sort of a how-to advertisement.

The other book, however, is not only much more in-depth about traditional techniques, but includes a lot of first-hand information about the genocide--the author's family was lucky enough to survive in hiding, and it was in those conditions she learned how to make lace and to embroider from her mother. I've read about half of the book so far, and the author's sense of loss is apparent: people lost family, homes, and thousands of years of cultural history were eradicated--burned, confiscated. Not only did she write the book to teach how to make knotted lace and keep alive knowledge of a craft which had been of intrinsic importance in her culture, but to inform about the culture itself and a homeland that was very dear to her.

I also thought about a photography book I looked through a few years ago ("For most of it I have no words : Genocide, Landscape, Memory" by Simon Norfolk). The photographer had visited I don't know how many sites of genocide, and his photos were presented in reverse chronological order. One image in particular stayed with me--a shattered schoolroom littered with the bones of small children--not only had the murderers targeted innocents, but there was no one to bury the victims.

Anyway, the book ended with a picture of the empty field where one of the worst massacres in Armenia had taken place. (So there's the final link of my thoughts.) How many times has this sort of thing happened? Why are there still people callous enough to come up with such strategies--and people stupid enough to follow orders? Etc. Eventually I thought, "I can do a series about that." Small pieces, based on art of the region, and titled along the lines of "Armenia 1915." More research to do--depressing topic, but at least the cultural part will be good.

To end this lengthy post on a better note:

Arctic Kitty now likes to go out in the morning, as of about three days ago. Morning Balcony Survey is quite brief: outside, swish tail a bunch of times, inside (except for today, which was whirl around and squirt back inside immediately).

Nocturnal Balcony Patrol was really good last night. The human began to doubt her telepathy was working, and checked a number of times. Each time, Arctic Kitty was pressed up against the railing in a different spot, radar focused intently outwards. Eventually, Arctic Kitty made a small noise (!) which the human noticed (!!!) and dashed inside at full speed as if she'd been stuck outside for positively hours. It was one of the times she came back in extra fluffy with cold fur, and smelling of wood smoke.

A final item to ponder: Why do roosters crow, but crows don't rooster? Drat, where's the OED when you need it? As it isn't here...based purely upon the words, a rooster should be called a crow, and a crow should be a caw. "Caw" is onomatopoeic, at least. (This is hopefully a start to me actually remembering weird linguistic things I think of.) A rooster does roost at night, but that's not different from other birds. Crows roost, too.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Entropy Reconfigured

Yesterday I made a couple stops on the way home from work--one of them to buy a toaster oven & some small shelving units. (Shelves, huzzah...) I assembled them & shifted all the boxes--well, not ALL the boxes, but a lot of them--and put some boxes on them. I reclaimed a significant amount of floorspace, which makes my heart rest easier. The living room half of the living room is now clear, except for a tall stack of books, and I can tolerate that a while longer. Also a basket full of stuff (baskets are tolerable, too) and my small, long-neglected tapestry loom. In fact, I could almost pretend that Order had been imposed, if it weren't for the stack of boxes visible behind the futon. At least I did make that pile relatively even, so I could put big pieces of paper on it. I wish I had a good way to store large pieces of paper...

A little while ago I phoned and ordered a small bookcase for one of the spaces Ikea didn't help me with. But I have to wait! :( Not a surprise, but hopefully it will be on the shorter end of the time they prognosticated. 24" wide, 48" high, 10" deep, with adjustable shelves. I have a steadily-increasing number of homeless books, and I've been "losing" things due to repeated shifting: I had to give in a while back and shelve by size instead of topic. And I have a tendency to retain books near my work area once I pull them--so there is usually a flock of books on the floor by my chair (books are best when within reach)--and these books tend to stay there long enough to lose their shelf spaces.

Anyway, I ended up messing around so long that I got to bed extremely late. Again. It was so late that the cat gave up on me, and went to bed by herself.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Marduk vs. Tiamat

I do hope the allegorical title will please the Title Quality Editor. (See, they're better when I have time to ponder them.) ;)

The week off was not restful, as I ended up schlepping stuff all over my apartment and repiling it in different configurations. I no longer have a living room; the battle for chaos control has just begun. But my work area is significantly improved. (Is there a law of conservation for entropy? All the entropy reduced in one area reappears somewhere else, and entropy can be condensed into a smaller area if the degree of entropy increases geometrically as area decreases?)

Here are several entries written over the course of the week, including several illustrations of things more or less flat enough to scan with some degree of recognizability (so, no pictures of the cat).

Vacation Process Report.

21. January, 2008 (Monday)

Here is the doubleweave sample I wove a couple of years ago. (I happened to mention it while visiting with Sarah on the phone, and realized I could show it to her!)

22. January, 2008

Organizing is very very tiring.

The idea for today was to clean out some of the extra stuff in the “studio” and to reclaim the “living room.” With the departure of one of the utility shelves (yay) I have been left with Stuff that has no place. Drat. (But not a surprise.) I didn't end up buying the drawer units I thought I would, so there is now, after much carrying, EMPTY SPACE in my work area!!! For now I am relieved by emptiness but I hope that tomorrow's pilgrimage to Ikea will help relieve the living room of its chaotic congestion. At least I moved the stuff that was precluding door access to any but perhaps a weasel. Amidst the lifting I eventually found myself muttering ow ow ow almost enough to take some Advil. I still might, the final straw being inadvisably but stubbornly heaving my unemptied, solid oak spice cabinet up onto the file cabinet.

Must now eat—I am way behind on nourishment. Then a lamentably short shower (until I moved here, I never dreamed that hot water heaters came in such a small size—plus it is now really cold, for Portland at least, so the hot water gets “diluted” by the cold water being excessively cold). Then I will SIT DOWN and have tea while it's hot. And if I've regained some energy I will draw or something.

At some point during the week...

I finished the little one of these embroideries, inspired by reading a couple of really interesting books by Mary B. Kelly (Making & Using Ritual Cloths, and Goddess Embroideries from (of?) Eastern Europe). I made the first one over Christmas:

It's odd that they don't show at all to scale--the second one is a leftover from the first!

23. January, 2008 (Wednesday)

The trip to Ikea didn't happen, but I did do other things: took the car for a check up (verdict: it needs to have something done) and did a quick run to two fairly close-by potential furniture sources. (After the failure-to-purchase of the drawer units on Monday I had checked three other places.) Help me oh Ikea, you're my only hope.

I have forcibly reclaimed most of the living room, at least of the half of the living room that performs the living room function. (The loom, spinning wheel, reel, and boxes of fabric constitute the normal occupants of the other half of the room, with the futon acting as a room divider.) Yesterday's moving included moving the loom so that I could “conceal” the boxes I was displacing from elsewhere.


There are probably 16 cubic feet of boxes, and the heap is, er, noticeable. :( I have so far restrained myself from evacuating the bedroom closet, which is poorly configured storage-wise. If I emptied it & reconfigured it I would have leftover boxes, and I can't bear to make the pile behind the loom any higher.

I didn't particularly want to spend my whole week off heaving boxes all over, but I shudder to think of how long this would have taken during an ordinary work schedule. Organizing is important. Once I get through this part of it (hopefully it's the worst) I have to remember that even tiny, incremental steps are progress. There is no use having Hoards of Cool or Interesting Stuff if I can't browse easily or if I can't lay my hands on a particular thing without a lot of rummaging. Using up the finite amounts of after-work Creative Power to deduce where something is—instead of using it to MAKE STUFF—got old a long time ago. Maybe 2008 will be the year I get my act mostly assembled.

Organizing is also very tiring for cats. Activity by the human is tiring under any circumstances, so a nap is necessary to recuperate, and then everything is different when you get up, and you have to explore it and see if you still recognize it. Then there is the socializing with the human (if the human is relatively sedentary) and then it's time for another nap. The nap starts sooner if the human is still active, because that is too tiring to keep up with. It is hard work being a cat.

Speaking of which, the cat is now telling me it is time for Balcony Patrol. Arctic Kitty prefers Balcony Patrol in the dark, especially if the wind is blowing interesting scents around. Balcony Patrol in daylight has been out of favor for several months. Nocturnal Balcony Patrol is most excellent, and Arctic Kitty checks everything out very thoroughly, returning inside when her human telepathically knows that she wants to (she keeps working on developing her human's powers of telepathy). She comes in all super fluffy and fresh smelling, and shortly has to have a nap to recover. After a bit of a snack.

(I do spend rather a lot of time with kitty, yes.)

25. January 2008, Friday, early afternoon.

Yesterday I went to Ikea. After the initial excitement wore off & I got down to the serious business of looking for specifically-dimensioned furniture units, it actually got kind of depressing, because my spots are so small nothing was fitting. For example, I need a narrow bookcase—but it has to be short enough to fit under the thermostat. I found one that was the correct width & height, but way too deep (it would stick out 5 or 6 inches too far) and one that was the correct width and depth, but way too tall. And then there was one that was just ridiculously small.

At least I have ended up with a work desk that I think will be very satisfactory. I bought two little file cabinet-like things with 6 drawers each and found one tabletop that was the right dimensions. The little cabinets are nearly assembled. They are marvels of engineering, really, and extremely admirably packed—plus the assembly instructions are commendable: no text, just pictures, with plenty of “magnifying bubbles” so you could tell what to pay attention to.

I am, however, about DONE with assembly. It is extra hard, I suspect, because I am increasingly sore as a result of an intense workout yesterday, in the form of quarterstaff drills. So far it is neck/upper back and forearms, but I expect it will be spreading across my back like it did last time, except probably worse, because we did more. One of the reasons I've tried to keep moving all day...but now I really must be still for a while. I think I will sit in my bedroom (free of chaos, sun now shining in) and watch an episode of Torchwood. Maybe Princess will come out from under the bed and join me.

27. January 2008, Sunday.

Today spiraled rather out of control, between sleeping through the alarm and Mom calling when I'd barely been up 20 minutes, and then we talked for ages (it might be for the first time since Christmas) which was good except it was way too long & the timing was not good. I eventually got a few of the main things done, except for the sitting around sewing/doing fun stuff part which I have pretty much not done all week. I managed to sit down a little bit early this evening, and read part of my book on Moroccan textiles & carpets (a recent acquisition) with Princess curled up against my leg.

Yesterday I finally mounted an embroidery I had 97% finished by late February. It didn't scan particularly well because of its puffiness (as Muriel Baker pointed out in Stumpwork, it is impossible to block it to remove wrinkles; I resorted to tautly stretching it and padding it with quilt batting). I do believe the recipient was entertained. He nearly didn't get it, as I developed quite a fondness for the monkey and was really close to keeping it. The picture is based on an image in a book of emblems I bought earlier this year (currently missing in action, or I'd include the title; I just checked a bunch of places—I remember where it used to be, but I've shifted everything several times since then).

Yesterday I also took an encaustic painting class with Amy Stoner. Something else to buy art supplies for! You can do collage with wax, too. In the Sept./Oct. 2007 issue of Fiberarts there was a neat article (pg. 20-21) by Daniella Woolf (she also has a blog about her work). She incorporates paper, silk, etc. into her layered encaustic works.

My initial experiments (once I get set up, I'll mess around with them some more) (usual web-picture caveat--in real life they don't quite look like this): Time to make the final preparations for tomorrow. After today, I think I really really need to get a shiny sticker.

Today, Monday January 28:

Snow everywhere this morning! :) Very pretty. I suffer from snow deprivation, but I'm just as glad to not have to drive in snow with inexperienced people.

Friday, January 18, 2008


There will be a moderate hiatus while I have a week of vacation (!!!) because of no e-mail at home. Since I've hardly started here, I presume the hiatus will be nearly imperceptible. Since I vow to be organized (making lists as Sarah suggests--I have even written things on lists that are already done, so I can have something to cross off)--since I will be organized, I will have Project Progress to report, and I will scan in flat things so there will be more pictures. Maybe part of my shopping will be for the digital camera I didn't buy yet; first, however, a phone & a toaster oven. And since I recently was swept along with the guys & said sure, I'll buy a long hickory staff too, I probably should buy more string to balance that out. For extra legitimization, I will first use some of the goodies I got at Stringpage Supplies and make some more fingerloop braiding samples. (If I'm using string up, it's okay to add to the stash.) (New string for inspiration, you know, and it wouldn't do to run out, after all.) (And you can never really have too much string, even though it seems like it when you live in a smallish apartment, but string takes up very little space, really, for how much fun it is.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I remembered to take my flash drive home, put the picture on it, AND bring it to work.
Here is the picture I was missing--a kind of Celtic mandala drawn with many compass marks. I will try to remember to scan it at different stages; I've never done that before, and it will be interesting to see how it changes.
An aside: due to a timely reminder from a friend, I have begun applying stickers to my dayplanner when I get things done I'm supposed to do. It is an inordinate amount of fun; my inner child is presumably very lonely and neglected for stickers to be such a motivation, but I hope that such a simple reward keeps working.